A phone rang in a certain office, and the afternoon secretary let it ring twice as usual before regretfully abandoning 2048 and picking up.
"Albert & Frump, how may I help you?"
"Hi," said a childish voice, enunciating very carefully. "This is the Foundation for SPCT Foundation." Pause. "For trolls."
The secretary was tempted to hang up, but the voice sounded so very young, and she was so very bored.
"For trolls?" She enquired, using her very best impressed with bratty nephew tone. "That's really interesting! Do you like trolls?"
"I'm Karkat," said the child. There were some sounds on the other side of the line. "I'm a troll," he added, eventually.
"I see," she said, slowly, and waited for a few awkward seconds before asking, a bit peeved: "Did you phone our company for any particular reason, Mr. Ka-Kat Troll?"
"Yes," he said, and then whispered: "See, there is this guy in our forum who's a huge big asshole turd."
There was something discomfitting about hearing such a small voice utter the words "asshole turd" so solemnly. "Really?" she coaxed.
"Yes," the voice lowered even more, became secretive. "He keeps saying I should die."
Discomfitting didn't even begin to describe the effect of those words. The secretary might be cynical and easily bored, but threatening a child on a forum was simply beyond the pale.
"God!" she let escape. The poor thing! He had probably called the first number he could find.
"I know," he said, solemnly. "He says it is best for all the trolls, because I'm a mutant."
The secretary suddenly remembered this child had introduced himself as a troll, and that she hadn't taken him seriously at that point. Trolls could talk?
The assumed troll went on. "Well, personally I don't give a friggity funk what he thinks I should die, or." Small pause. "But it makes Dave very sad! Because I'm his family, and he loves me. You know."
Okay, so this wasn't a child being harassed on the internet, but somebody's pet. How low could a guy go, to threaten a pet? And it sounded adorable, to boot. Her assessment of the culprit downgraded from sadistic creep to sad vermin.
"Can I talk to Dave?" she asked. She might as well advise the owner to be careful of what he spoke around his pet, if it groked this much language.
"Oh, no!" the troll whispered. "No, no, it's a secret that I'm calling. Bro is going work, and Dave's doing music."
"I... see," she said, slowly.
"Dave does music everyday," said the troll, more solemn than ever. "Everyday. He sits on his computer for like, three hours—" hushed awe, and the mental image of three little fingers being raised "—making thumpy music so other people go party. He never goes party. He just sits somewhere making the music go thump, while the other people go party."
Sounded like a DJ. Great. (The secretary had an inexplicably low opinion of DJs.)
"So while he has cans that are going thump on his ears I thought I'd handle this problem for him," it explains.
"Well, how so?" the secretary settled back, ready to field more child-like rambling.
"See," it started, "Sollux hacked the internet, and he tra..." hesitation "...ced that man's Eye-Pee."
She hadn't braced for that.
"And he says the Eye-Pee is from your company," continued the troll. "I mean, not from Your Company, your company. But from your company in another place. In Oca... Com... Cafon... Cocafoma."
"Oklahoma," she repeated numbly. Someone in the Oklahoma branch was using a company resource to harass somebody's infantile pet.
"Yes, that," it said, dismissively. "So I called there yesterday, but the phone miss was really mean to me." Secretively: "It was probably her."
This was a disaster. Not that she thought it had really been one of the Oklahoma branch's operators (though she knew for a fact one of them was particularly humorless); nevertheless, if a computer expert — or even some forum neckbeard — had traced the harassment to their company, it could generate a PR mess. Minor, perhaps, but on her watch.
Not that she knew anything about computers or hacking. Maybe IPs were easy to fake or something. She made a note to call one of the nerds from the third floor, and ask some PR intern about possible repercussions.
"So I thought I'd tell you so you could go tell this person off," the pet continued. "Because he keeps saying I have to die so the Troll Race will be better, and that's Ow-genits. Ow-genits is a very bad thing. Hitler liked Ow-genits, and he was the evilest person ever."
Oh great, this model employee could also feasibly be accused of nazism. "Do you even know what eugenics is?" she asked.
"Of course I do," the troll sniffed in scorn, then added, all offense: "Do you even know how evil that is? Hitler did it and everyone killed him forever, but when I called, the mean phone lady just told me to go to school!" Sadly: "And I can't even go to school..."
"That's very sad," she agreed, placatingly. "But how did you know to call this number when the other didn't work?"
"I looked on the internet," the troll answered, almost singy-song. "Duh."
"You can read?" Trolls could read?
"Of course!" it exclaimed in loud offense. "Dave taught me."
That sounded supremely irresponsible, and also like the ultimate pet trick. On the one hand it felt like a typical DJ stunt (her DJ prejudices ran deep), but on the other hand this troll did seem incredibly smart. In the end she chose to assume this DJ simply cherished his pet that much. God knew she'd teach her corgi to read if it was feasible, the precious baby could almost talk as it was.
"You're a much nicer phone lady than the other one," said the troll, with noticeable cheer.
"Why, thank you!" She felt a spontaneous smile widen her lips. "And you are the smartest troll I ever talked to," she added (as well as the first, she didn't say).
"Yes!" it seemed to agree wholeheartedly. "Thanks!" It added anyway, and then, inexplicably: "I'm on a youtube!"
"You are?" she gasped theatrically.
"Yes!" It said again, with the same exact tone. "It's on the SPCT Foundation Youtube-youtube."
"That's pretty cool!" she assured it.
"You should probably write that down," it chided. "It's the SPCT Foundation Youtube-youtube, which is the youtube for the Society Foundation for the Trolls Foundation for Taking Care of Trolls who are in Boxes."
She wrote it down, mostly for the sake of unburdening her conscience. Well, watching cute pet videos did sound like the perfect pastime for the rest of her shift, and she might as well start the marathon with an exotic species she knew nothing about.
"I wrote it all down," she announced into the silent phone. "Everything."
"Everything?" asked the troll, dubiously.
"Everything!" she confirmed.
"Okay!" it said. And then, after an empty second, it suddenly announced "Bye!" and hung up.
She stretched back into her chair, and contemplated the cuteness of this troll (just like a human child!) for all of two seconds before the phone rang again.
"Oh, you— you shouldn't call me back!" it was the troll again, sounding very worried.
Such a thing had never even occurred her. "Why not?" she asked, because, well. She was curious now.
"Because! This is Mister Purple's phone!" it gasped, and added in a whisper: "He's asleep."
"Oh! I see." She had no fucking idea who Mister Purple was, but he sounded creepy.
"And it's a secret that I called you, okay?" it reminded her.
"Yes, of course," she sighed. "It's a secret that I won't tell anyone."
"Bye!" and it hung up again.
Well, that was pretty adorable, except for the ominous mention of the sleeping color-coded phone-owner. Probably the kind of suspicious friend DJs were wont to go around with. (Her experience with DJs was minimal.)
She wrote a list of the issues involving the possibly impending pet-harassing internet-nazi employee kerfuffle— but, rather than immediately calling tech support over the legitimacy of IP-tracing, or PR on the level of threat for the company's image (if any), she decided to sit back for the moment and watch a troll be generally cute on the internet.
She googled SPCT Foundation.
Two hours later, she was sending a hurriedly typed email to both PR, her immediate superior and the Oklahoma branch about how someone was flaunting their IP while doing the equivalent of poking Betty Frigging Crocker with a short stick.